Food For Thought, Inpsiration, My Past, Myself

Checking In

If you are friends with me on Facebook then you have recently seen an upsurge in my Yelp check ins.I always check in with a tinge of shame and guilt. The shame is usually that I feel as if I am bragging about what a great life I have, and guilt that perhaps I shouldn’t be posting so much. And why Yelp?  First off, it’s because I only check into places I enjoy and want others to have the same experience, and secondly any commentary I put there is because I want the people I am with know how much their company means to. These past few days have meant a lot as I was lucky enough to meet so many I care about.

Then there are also the non-yelp moments where I couldn’t check in.  A beautiful one hour conversation with an old friend in New York.  We have managed to keep going for almost two decades this way. And watching Star Wars on Kodi and then breaking into tears as I missed my father intensely to the self-loathing I feel for not doing more to better my life. The anger from an argument where it felt easier to blame another when in fact, they are a mirror into my life.

So don’t just look at the check ins and picture a wondrous life because the reality is that while the check ins are happy moments, they are plenty of emotional states one doesn’t get to see.

Food For Thought, Journal, Myself

Wait But Why

Arriving back from Jackson, Mississippi late last night, it hit me how it was good to change to your environment for a few days. It is easy to get caught up in the hum drum of daily life, and while that consistency has its benefits, what I found was that with each travel occasion, I had a chance to deepen my love of interaction with others, find new food and stay in moments of gratitude that I have the privilege and luxury of being able to have new experiences.

It is too easy to take for granted the opportunities for connection with others that  you do not see very often. Although I was a relation by marriage to many there, I was made to feel like immediate family and that comfort and care pushed me to want to create more moments and opportunities like this in the future. Also, my crazy desire to try the best food where ever I am also played a big part.

A friend sent me a great article while I was there, and it seemed as if the Universe conspired yet again to let me know Papa looked out for me as it emphasized that we have very little in person time left with loved ones. It is easy to get so caught up in pursuing our financial dreams that we lose sight of the real treasures in front of us. So today, take time to make spending time with loved ones an EMERGENCY. Trust me when I say you will drown in regret if you lose that opportunity/

Food For Thought, Myself

Blabbering On Goals

76860c9f3dac9cd997e2d190be7f1bc7As I come close to revising a personal essay about Papa, it hit me that it is appropriate that I am beginning to approximate his waking time. I cannot help telling anyone that will listen how much I get done, and all that I wish to achieve this year. Yet a part of me cannot help feeling like a fraud and a blabbermouth. Doubt hangs heavy in the mornings when I struggle through my writing and review my goals. It feels as if I am kidding myself when day after day some goals remain not done or even forgotten. Yet I know there is more going on: Fear. Fear that I am a fraud, that I am boring others, that I am arrogant and egotistical for constantly sharing,  Fear that I am not good enough, and that I fill space by going on and one about what I wish to do.

But then slowly certain goals get done, great feedback from my Writers Groups, becoming athlete of the month at the gym, spending connected time with  my family, friends and being in service to others. All those things started with small steps, and false starts. They all began with me declaring and blabbering.  So I get to get out of my head and into action, knowing that I may not get to all or most of my goals, but I will still be further along than when I started.

Myself

30 Left To Go Into Acceptance

ecf90ab26b5234f936112a4493282394The morning quiet is only interrupted with the constant patter of the rain outside. This is my alone time, the house asleep, the gentle snore of the dog greets from my a distance.  The mornings get earlier and earlier (currently, I wake up 4:59am automatically almost daily). Surrounded by my collections of books, my planner, the current book I am reading,, it is an appropriate time and place to reflect. Gratitude fills me as Southern California needs the rain, and I think about all that I take for granted in my life. A loving family, a supportive spouse, intimate friendships, and my outrageous vision for my life.

Another year, I am now 45 yet it I don’t feel my age. My father passed at 79 and my grandfather at 89. I figure I have till 75 which leaves me 30 years to live the life I have always wanted. It is no longer a marathon for me as there is so much to do, learn, and experience. Gone are the days of waiting and wishing for a better life or be a better person. It takes work, and I have wasted decades in self-pity, doubt, and lack of self-worth. Being the best version of myself requires honest introspection, dedication, and the willingness to say no to the things that don’t serve my vision.

It also means being honest with others, and not fill myself with judgement about how they are not living the life I think they should be living. I can only control my own thoughts, emotions and actions. So today, on my birthday, I resolve to make acceptance my daily affirmation. It’s going to be a long journey because I am my father’s son, and I see more and more that it takes work to be loving of all not just the ones that make it easy. So here’s to 45 and 2017. Bring it on!

Family, Inpsiration, Myself

Social Silence

untitled1Last few weeks, I am trying something that I have done in the past with great results, but then I go back to it. I deleted all social media apps from my fun, and the relief I felt is hard to describe.  The firehose of negativity suddenly dimmed in my social media life, and I cannot tell you how light and relieved I feel.  That’s not to say I am not going on Facebook, but since its now only desktop based, I check it in the mornings and then am done for the rest of the day. It feels like a controlled fire where it’s manageable, and I am less inclined to feel overwhelmed with the deluge of information and mindless scrolling.

The main benefit is to be stop being annoyed at those who post a lot. That negative conversation has gone from my head. I don’t know if this is avoidance or getting less attached to the phone which because now I only have Words with Friends, and can only look at it so often when there is not social media, no real distraction. The other benefit, less picking up of the phone during conversations with others,  let capturing of activities for others to see how much “fun” I am having. Less ignoring others to look at my phone.

The urge to look at the phone fades, and to interact with others increases. It is not a perfect solution, but it’s one that works for me. The lightness I feel daily is hard to explain except to say that I no longer feel I carry the burden to know everything about others or events. I get to focus on what matters to me for now.  And that’s enough.

My Past, Myself

Emotional Writing

an-opportunity-to-rebuild-yourselfI have been blessed to be part of a great writers critique group (The Long Beach Writer’s Critique Group) that has helped me to want to continue writing.  One small change that I made last year was to submit more often to the group. Initially, I was hesitant because like most writers, I had the fear that my writing was not good enough. Although the feeling has not gone away, the feedback I have received from the group has made my writing exponentially better.

That still has not changed the fact that I am a “pantser” (one who writes without an outline) or, in my case, someone who looks at a blank page and has no idea what is going to come out. So last week, I volunteered to submit a piece, and at first, it started with me describing my brain bleed which then got me to a dear mentors death due to anesthesia which took me to the deeper hole about my stroke then to my jaw surgery in high school and then to my cornea transplant, and suddenly I had pages and pages filled in and I couldn’t take a breath. The words poured out, and what started out as a simple essay about a simple surgery (I thought) suddenly choked me, and I froze.

I have heard about emotional writing, but never experienced it in this manner until now. What seemed easy suddenly became the hardest things as it hit me that there is so much I have not dealt with. So much stuff I just bottled up and treated it as if it was in the past, and then the old quote came up(paraphrased here): “those who do not learn from their past are doomed to repeat it..” So hit me that as much as it hurts, I have to keep writing. If for nothing else, just so I can finally know what emotions are still there.